Broken Heart SyndromeI remember paying close attention to the news when Carrie Fisher suffered a medical emergency while on a flight from London to Los Angeles on Friday, December 23.  I, like others my age, was alarmed that she died at 60 years old after suffering a heart attack, three days later. The shock continued when Carrie’s mother, actress Debbie Reynolds’s, life expired too.  My question is, did Debbie Reynolds die from broken heart syndrome? It sounds like there is truth to hearts actually can break.

Broken Heart Syndrome
Broken heart syndrome mimics a heart attack.  According to the Mayo Clinic, broken heart syndrome is a real medical condition brought on by tragedy or shock, and it feels like a heart attack.  A surge of stress hormones causes a temporary disruption in your heart’s normal pumping function, giving you chest pain and shortness of breath.
Broken Heart Syndrome

Back in 1990, Japanese physician Hikaro Sato wrote a thought-provoking clinical paper describing an unusual set of sudden, life-threatening symptoms he and his colleagues were seeing in their patients.  Please note, they found the condition was almost exclusive to women, and the women, as it happened, had recently undergone tremendous stress because of the loss of a loved one or other emotional event.

Broken Heart Syndrome

Broken Heart Syndrome
Hearts Actually Can Break. Location: At the Harrisburg State Capital Complex. Wearing: ASOS Faux Suede Trench similar here, Cynthia Rowley Fit and Flare Black Dress similar here, Vintage (30 years old) Ivory/Brass Choker Necklace, Portolano Products Black 6-button Silk LIned-Gloves similar here with Cole Hann Over-The-Knee Black Suede Boots.


Hearts Actually Can Break. Emotional Malady. Image credit: WSJ research.

Dr. Sato and his colleagues theorized that the left ventricle of the heart, which has the main responsibility for pumping, was weakened and mimicking the symptoms of a heart attack.

Broken Heart Syndrome
Hearts Actually Can Break. Image credit: in accordance (
(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / SeDmi

In most patients, the symptoms go away after a few weeks and they fully recover.  Others can face more severe complications such as heart failure.  Death is rare but is possible.

Little information is available regarding Debbie Reynolds’s death.  What I do know is that I will forever remember Debbie as an American actress, singer, and dancer …Singin’ in the Rain. And Carrie, not just as Debbie’s devoted daughter and as the actress, but Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series.

Ladies, you know the drill, this is a kind reminder to make healthy food choices daily, exercise to protect the heart, and make those all important appointments with your medical professionals. 

Have a fabulous and stylish week,